Ono Pharma Breakthrough Science Initiative Awards

Funding Agency:
Ono Pharma Foundation

Ono Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. is a leading global healthcare company committed to delivering new, innovative pharmaceutical products to patients and championing the fight against disease and pain. Ono Pharmaceutical carries out these goals in cooperation with researchers, patients, their families, and healthcare providers.

The Ono Pharma Foundation was established to support academic research in relevant scientific fields, which have the potential of making significant impact on therapeutic approaches to disease and pain management. The Foundation’s competitive awards program, the Ono Pharma Breakthrough Science Initiative Awards Program (“Ono Initiative”), is the embodiment of the Foundation’s commitment to focus on and accelerate researcher-driven open innovation by supporting high-risk and high-reward science research projects which have potential to lead to science discoveries/solutions and, possibly, based on further research, to breakthrough treatments for patients.

Each Nominating Institution may nominate up to two (2) applicants in Chemical Biology Research. 

Potential applicants should consult with Steve Murray, Foundation Relations (stephen.murray@duke.edu) before applying.


  • Duke Internal: Dec. 20, 2021
  • Required Letter of Intent: Feb. 17, 2022
  • Invited Proposal due date: May 18, 2022

Areas of Interest

The purpose of the Ono Initiative is to support scientist Principal Investigators (“PIs”) with creative ideas in the selected scientific research field, Chemical Biology, with the mission of seeking discoveries/solutions and development of high impact science.

Target research of Chemical Biology is not specified. Chemical Biology is defined as research that deals with the interface between chemistry and biology. The criteria for this field are deliberately broad so as not to disqualify potentially innovative and groundbreaking projects.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicants must meet the following requirements. Letter of Interest (LOI) and final Proposals from applicants not meeting the requirements listed below will not be considered.
• PIs applying must be working at one of the nominating institutions. Nominating institutions might be replaced or added to in subsequent years.
• The PI must have an MD and/or a PhD degree.
• The PI must be a new applicant to the Ono Initiative. • The PI must be a young and/or mid-career scientist (15 years or below of experience from starting independent academic position).
• The PI may not already be engaged in other sponsored research with Ono Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. and/or grant program with Ono Pharma Foundation.

Amount Description

Awards will consist of annual funding of $300,000/year, totaling a maximum of $900,000 for the normal term of a research project. The Ono Pharma Foundation will provide up to a maximum of an additional 15% ($45,000) per year of the funding to be used for indirect costs of the PI’s institution. The total amount of the grant for three-year research would be up to $1,035,000.

Funding Type



Junior Faculty


Engineering and Physical Sciences
Environmental & Life Sciences
Medical - Basic Science

Internal Nomination

Owing to the sponsor's restriction on the number of applications that may be submitted from Duke, anyone wishing to pursue nomination should submit the following materials as one PDF.

NIH Biosketch of project leader (including current/pending grant support)
1 - 1.5 pg. statement of “Vision for Proposed Research"

Please submit internal materials through My Research Proposal. (Code ILN) https://www.grantinterface.com/sl/8SPpYe

Instructions for both creating an account (if you don't already have one) and submitting your materials can be found here: https://www.ctsi.duke.edu/myresearchproposal

Internal Deadline

December 20, 2021

External Deadline

February 17, 2022